Harry the Mountain Man – Part Three
THE TIME I CRASHED A PLANE INTO MEXICO
Now, sure as the world is spinnin’, I’m a mountain man at heart. That being stated all truthful and all, a man can’t be expected to stay in the same damn place his whole ‘ntire life, no matter how homey it may be to him. When a man gets a feeling’ in his heart, a feeling’ like a lust fer adventure even, he’s got to follow it, he does. This little tale ‘s about the time I managed to venture on down to Mexico.
On one particular day, I meself ran inta a beggerman o’ a strange pigment, sort o’ tan like, as they call it. He was talkin’ to me in a foreign language, but I made friends quick with him anyhow. I figured to meself that he seemed a good-hearted man, like meself, and could use some sort o’ companion, being so lonesome ‘n all.
Ye see, I was hungry fer another round o’ adventure, I was, and helpin’ this here feller out seemed the solution to me. I didn’t understand much he said, in fact, ‘most nothin’ at all, but I understood “Mexico”, and boy, did he say that a lot. I was thinking I was, right then and there, and I thought Mexico was the solution to both ‘r problems, though I never really was sure what his problem was. We were gunna go to Mexico, we were!
Anyhow, I was thinkin’ I was, on how to go on about gettin’ down to Mexico. The more thinkin’ I did, the harder the problem did seem to set itself, it did, and the furth’r away Mexico seemed. Then I ‘membered somethin’, oh I did indeed! Me grandaddy, Pa’s ol’ man, he himself owned a little plane, he did, a real beaut’, if I e’er saw one. Boy, it was paint’d up all nice, with a bright red body, ‘n blue wings that looked like the sky. When the sun looked down on it, glowin’ an’ all, like it tends to do, that was a sight to behold! The little thing was a stunt plane, it was, wheels perm-an-en-tly lowered like, and I used to go ridin’ in it with ol’ grandaddy when I was a small ‘un. He could pilot that thing like a bird, ‘n we us’d to go flyin’ all o’er the Green Mountains, all free like. That there is one o’ the best feelin’s a man can have, to trav’l through the air in a big metal bird, twistin’ an’ turnin’ n’ jumpin’ all about.
Well, I reached out to ol’ grandaddy, with me pal Carlos at me shoulder, but the ol’ man decided he wasn’t gunna be handin’ out his plane without himself flyin’ it. I told him we was headin’ out Mexico way, and that was further than Texas, even, but he wouldn’t hear it. He was flyin’ ‘nd that was that.
We fill’d ‘er up with gas ‘n the like, and gave ‘er a good rubbin’, then prepped fer takeoff. I hopped on inta the co-pilot seat, ‘nd let ol’ grandaddy take the throne. What a bout o’ luck I had run inta, considerin’ my lust fer adventure was ‘bout overflowin’ right then and there, and Carlos too, he seemed mighty excit’d to be headin’ home to Mexico.
Ol’ grandaddy took off real smooth like, right down the street, ‘nd we were off in a quick second. Boy, it was just like I remeber’d, flyin’ ‘n all. We flew right o’er bout half the states, I’d reckon, with me grandaddy twistin’ ‘n turnin’ all the way. We passed o’er farms, mountains almost as fine as the Green ones o’ Vermont, lakes n’ other such bodies o’ water, homes, buildin’s, hills, caves, marshes, trees, rocks, snow, and such an array o’ terrain as I had ne’er seen before in all me days.
We’d been up there in the clouds ‘bout five er six hours before ol’ Grandaddy passed out cold. The fault’s with me, I reckon, as it had justed dawned on me ‘bout his tendency to pass out like such e’ry couple hours er so. Well, Carlos started lookin’ a little panick’d like, but meself, I kept a head cool as a shady rock, and manag’d to get a bit o’ control o’ that plane there in a quick minute. If ye get panicked like ol’ Carlos, ye ne’er ‘ll get anything done, I’d say, there just ain’t no ration ‘bout it at all.
Anyhow, I still had a thin stretch o’ luck, as the plane was still on course, as it were, and keepin’ a steady speed n’ alt-it-ude. Now, we didn’t have no control center guidin’ us in, mind ye, I was all by me lonesome up there, ‘cept fer ol’ Carlos. First I made a point to get ol’ grandaddy’s feet n’ hands out o’ me way o’ the controls, to stop his unconscious meddlin’ o sorts. This plane didn’t have no dual controls, I found out real quick, so I upended the ol’ man out onto the floor, in ord’r to take his seat. I placed me feet on the rudder pedals and me hands on the joystick, and took it from there.
Right then, ye won’t believe it, but ol’ Carlos went as cuckoo as a clock, and started battin’ at the controls, out o’ his wits ‘n such. I hated to do it, but I had to lay him out cold too, in ord’r to stop him from killin’ us all. Now, I found the little gyro-meter and set the plane straight as I could, southern direction, towards Mexico. I lined us up good and right by the red horizon, and felt mighty proud o’ it too.
Soon as the land start’d resemblin’ some sorta desert like terrain, I began droppin’ us down, slow ‘n steady. ‘Bout this point ‘s when ol’ Carlos came too again, ‘nd resumed his fit o’ terror. I got up to lay him down again, but he came at me with some strength I ne’er expected from a beggerman. I meself fell back upon the joystick, and send us headin’ straight towards th’ ground, in a tight nosedive, like it were. Boy, he was scared then, and took it upon himself to pass out cold. Meself, I kept me cool head, and pulled back the joystick, but I was too late, and we hit those sandy dunes with a BANG!
Well, I was lucky to survive that one, I was, but as fer me grandaddy n’ ol’ Carlos, gawd rest their souls. Don’t fret too hard now, I gave ‘em both good n’ proper funerals out there before I walked down to town. It wasn’t all bad mind ye, I picked up a job as a coyote crossin’ those Mejican’s o’er the border, but that’s another tale.
Anyhow, that’s the story o’ how I crashed a plane inta Mexico, and almost lost me life doin’ it, too.
previous: Harry the Mountain Man – Part Two
all chapters: Harry the Mountain Man
more by STAN MACEL
photograph by Daria Sukhorukova